November 2013 Advocate

Eight Days a Week

First of a two-part report on the AFT 1493 Workload Survey

by Teeka James, AFT Local 1493 President

As you probably recall, last semester AFT 1493 asked faculty to share their perceptions of the workaday life at our three colleges. As The Advocate previously reported, 377 faculty members participated in the workload survey. Respondents were almost equally split between full-time and part-time faculty members (51 and 49 percent respectively), with 80 percent identifying themselves as classroom instructors, 10 percent as counselors, 7 percent as librarians, and 4 percent as non-instructional faculty. With the survey data, we first wanted to quantify, to the degree possible, how much time full-time faculty members spend on the various contractual components of our job duties, with the critical delineation being between teaching and non-teaching duties. In this first of our two-part report on the survey findings, we focus on the second of our purposes, which boils down to this: has faculty workload increased beyond the scope of our contractual duties? The short answer seems to be yes, indeed.

The Increasing Volume of Work

    Most faculty see teaching duties as encompassing all activities connected to working directly with students, everything from being in the classroom to grading to developing curriculum. Program review, SLO reporting, requesting and ordering equipment, organizing advising committees for CTE programs, grant writing—all of these non-teaching tasks came up again and again as draining and distracting for faculty, and virtually all survey respondents commented in some way that their non-teaching workload has increased over the course of their careers. One faculty member explained that “the expectations of all of us are expanding—but not just a little—exponentially! Every semester there is yet another new requirement and time commitment thrust upon me/us. It is time for some change. Pay is not the answer because time is a finite resource!” Faculty who work in small departments feel particularly burdened by non-teaching responsibilities because, oftentimes, all non-teaching work falls into the lap of a single faculty member. Others, in departments large and small alike, commented that the number of full-time faculty who do not pitch in with committee work makes what would be a manageable job overwhelming: “Faculty members who do not participate (at all or equally with others) in contractualized, non-teaching duties are not penalized. This is unfair and needs to be addressed in full-time faculty evaluations or another measurable way.” Still other faculty see much of the reporting work as being the rightful responsibility of administrators, and several faculty believe that no one ever reads these reports, which makes the work so frustrating. One faculty member’s comment summed up what many others felt about these points:

A great deal, perhaps most, of the additional non-teaching work is a complete waste of time. We are required to write reports no one will read so that some administrator can check some box on some form. I understand the theory behind accountability and measuring results. I have no problem with accountability and measuring results. But SLOs, Peer Review, Program Review, Advisory Committees (for CTE) and similar requirements are consuming a huge amount of time with no discernible benefits. If you want accountability and measured results let’s find a better method that takes less time and really works.

Extra-contractual Labor

    In the survey, faculty answered a series of questions that asked them to define ambiguous references to specific duties, such as “submitting reports on . . PieGraph-web. other matters as required,” and to quantify how much of their work time is consumed by tasks across all categories of responsibility: tasks required of all, additional professional responsibilities (required of full-timers only), and voluntary activities. After having thoroughly reflected in this way on their patterns of usual, contractually defined work tasks, faculty answered this question: “Do you believe you routinely perform duties that are not specifically required of you by your contract?” A definitive 70 percent of faculty respondents answered yes, over half reporting that those extra-contractual tasks consume up to 20 percent of the average work day.

    Faculty identified extra-contractual work tasks in multiple ways, but several common experiences emerged in the responses. While most faculty say they appreciate the utility of electronic communication between colleagues and with students, many experience email as an enormous time-suck, feeling as if they must be ever-at-the-ready. “The ease and accessibility of email has dramatically increased the amount of time that I work,” explained one faculty member. “With so many people using this means of communication, I find it a job in its own to keep up with the daily onslaught of email messages most of which require a somewhat immediate response.”
    Faculty also noted the time required to learn what seems like an ever-changing suite of reporting software and distance education platforms. As one faculty member reported, “There has been a dramatic increase this year with the simultaneous implementation of transfer curriculum, SLOs, use of CurricuNet and TracDat, and now annual program planning. These have all been imposed either without discussion, or worse with discussion and dissent followed by never mind, just do it.” CurricuNet and TracDat seem to be considered counter-intuitive and universally disliked. One faculty member contributed his or her analysis of the crux of the issue:

I understand the need for curriculum development but Curricunet was a lousy purchase.  It is so filled with bugs [that] faculty require extensive assistance to do simple curriculum development. It often takes 2 full-time people to sit for hours on end trying to get through one page of Curricunet only to have it disappear. It is an enormous waste of human resources, and the District should be shocked at this waste.  We are basically doing Quality Assurance for Curricunet because it was so poorly done (if at all) before [the software] went [on] sale.  Inordinate amounts of uncompensated time on technological debacles–who would want to develop a new class?  I am dreading the updates necessary for Program Review.

    Student Learning Outcomes were one of the most cited specific tasks that faculty took issue with. Concerns ranged from hatred of reporting software to frustration with what amounts to so much busywork. Some faculty acknowledge the intrinsic value in SLO assessment but feel the related work tasks, when driven by accreditation fears, become oppressive and futile. One person commented that “the SLO work we are doing is not in our contract but we feel pressured to do it,” and another faculty member lamented that “everything SLO is set up to only please the accreditation commission.”

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Faculty Confusion about Job Requirements

    A surprising number of faculty hold misconceptions about how the contract defines our job duties. Some faculty wrongly believe that faculty job descriptions include an “other duties as assigned” clause. As one person notes, “The non-teaching work I do is within the scope of the contract.  ‘As assigned’ in ‘other duties as assigned’ opens a very large umbrella.” Faculty take note: there is no such umbrella in our contract. The statement that comes closest is this: “submit timely and accurate reports of attendance, grades and other matters as required” (CBA Appendix D; emphasis added), but being the third item in the list following “attendance” and “grades,” those “other matters” clearly refer to additional types of reports related to classroom duties (reporting disruptive student behavior, for example).
    Though not as clear cut as the previous misunderstanding, many faculty believe that they are not specifically required to attend department, division, and college meetings and listed “meetings” as examples of work not required by the contract. This is not completely accurate. The contract specifically states that full-time faculty are required to “attend and participate in official division and college faculty meetings called by the college administration,” but this particular duty heads the list of “additional professional responsibilities,” which are subject to the following caveat: “It is not the intention of the parties to this Agreement to imply that all unit members will be assigned all of the responsibilities listed under B.  Certain of these responsibilities may be appropriate for assignment to a given unit member who would not be paid additional District compensation for discharging them.” This means, for example, that faculty do not lose sick time for not attending division meetings, but it also means that attending college meetings is an official component of the full-time faculty position.
    Taken as a whole, the survey data reveal a number of points about workload:

  1. Technology has increased workload, both in terms of the amount and pace of the work expected of faculty and the types of extra-discipline knowledge and skills faculty must master.
  2. The demands of extra-institutional agencies have imposed completely new categories of work on faculty.
  3. Non-teaching work comes in fits and starts, which make tasks difficult to plan for and overwhelming to complete.
  4. Non-teaching tasks are experienced as interruptions to the more important work of teaching.
  5. Faculty view top-down initiatives from administrators as a coincident feature of meaningless work.
  6. Part-time faculty feel pressured to perform non-teaching duties when there are no full-time faculty in their departments or when winning full-time positions seems predicated upon their participation in non-teaching work.

“Everything necessitates more time at the computer so that when you go home, you are never done with non-teaching related tasks. We need to rebalance our time and spend more time doing teaching-related work and less time doing time-consuming tasks that do not advance teaching or learning.”

“I am overwhelmed by the tasks required of me including assessments, SLO, IPSLO, Trac-Dat inputting, advisory committee organization and coordination as well as attending other advisory committees…”

“Program review, accreditation, SLO assessment: all of these are forms of educational research or administration that should be done by educational researchers or administrators—people with training, time, and compensation to do the enormous amount of work required if these things are to be done well…”

“Deans and upper administrators appear to be unaware and not particularly concerned about faculty workload issues…”

 To be continued in the next issue…

 

 

 

 

ACCREDITATION ISSUES

Forum on CCSF accreditation struggle to be held at CSM on Oct. 28;
Speakers to include Ron Galatolo and CCSF instructor, student and board member


As our District’s colleges are undergoing evaluation site visits by teams sent by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), City College of San Francisco (CCSF) continues to fight to prevent the loss of their accreditation. The latest information on the accreditation situation at CCSF will be discussed at a public forum at CSM on Monday, October 28, from 2:00 to 4:00 in Building 10, Room 195. Three CCSF representatives–an instructor, a student, and a Board member–will discuss how City College, one of the largest community colleges in the country, is being threatened with closure in June 2014 by the ACCJC.
    SMCCCD Chancellor Ron Galatolo will introduce the panel of speakers and will also make extended comments of his own at the beginning of the forum. Chancellor Galatolo has raised serious concerns about the ACCJC’s actions and has recently sent letters to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) formally challenging the ACCJC’s recognition which is currently being reviewed by the DOE. (See letters on pages 8-11.)
    The speakers will be:
• Jaime Borrazas, an ESL instructor at CCSF for 32 years, who just retired earlier this year, and is now devoting himself to helping CCSF save its accreditation.
• Ariel Hiller, a Labor and Community Studies major at CCSF, an Israeli immigrant who started at City College as an ESL student and has been taking classes there for the past several years.
• Rafael Mandelman, a member of the CCSF Board of Trustees. After the ACCJC, in disapproving of a San Francisco Chronicle Op Ed that he wrote, demanded that the Trustees “speak with one voice,” he said, “I don’t think accreditation requires giving up first amendment rights.”
    Time will be provided for questions and answers from the audience.
    ACCJC’s actions at CCSF are only the most extreme example of the wide range of sanctions the agency has handed down to dozens of colleges in recent years and, if they succeed in shutting down CCSF, it will set a devastating precedent that will negatively impact all other colleges under their jurisdiction.
    For more information on the current situation at City College, please go the AFT 1493 website: aft1493.org.

 

 

 

ACCREDITATION ISSUES

Galatolo sends formal critiques of ACCJC to the U.S. Dept. of Education


Editor’s note: Click here to read a copy of a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) on September 25 by Chancellor Ron Galatolo which suggests that the DOE should require the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to develop a Closure Report similar to Closure Reports that colleges that the ACCJC places on “Show Cause” status are required to produce. The Commission is currently undergoing a recognition review by the DOE to determine whether it should be allowed to continnue as an accrediting agency. Galatolo sent a second letter (and attachment) to the DOE on October 7 (click here to read the Oct. 7 letter) which identifies criteria showing that the ACCJC appears to be out of compliance with several standards required by accrediting agencies. 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLIDARITY

AFT 1493 supports CCSF in their struggle to remain accredited

Editor’s note: Printed below is a solidarity statement written by AFT 1493 President Teeka James in support of CCSF’s fight to maintain their accreditation.

AFT 1493 stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of CCSF, for we are all too aware that their experience could be ours, that in numbers we have strength, and that silence masquerades as complicity.
     City College San Francisco provides the people of San Francisco County a critical bridge towards the achievement of their full human potential. As is stated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment . . . . Education is a powerful tool by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully as citizens.” CCSF, along with the rest of California’s COMMUNITY colleges, is the sole avenue by which many of us in San Francisco County can exercise our most fundamental of human rights: the right to develop our intellect and empower our lives. AFT 1493 unequivocally supports CCSF, its faculty, staff, and students, in their struggle.
 
(Quote from: UNESCO The Right to Education <http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/right-to-education/>)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACULTY EVALUATION

Performance Evaluation Task Force lists what has been accomplished so far and what remains to be done


The following is an update by Vice Chancellor Harry Joel, a member of the Performance Evaluation Task Force (PETF), on what has been accomplished by the PETF as of October 4. The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for October 28.

    Revised the Student Evaluation of Faculty form to use in either classroom or distance education classes.  The form was piloted over the summer and 202 students completed the survey.  We have made some revisions to the form and reduced the number of questions to make the form more user-friendly. 
    Revised the following components of the faculty evaluation procedures:
a.    Written descriptors of the components of student learning outcomes for incorporation into the procedures
b.     Rewritten the procedures for the Evaluation Process for Regular Classroom Faculty – Need to finalize with Task Force
c.     Rewritten the procedures for the Evaluation Process for Non-instructional Faculty – Health Services Nurses, Counselors, Librarians – Need to finalize with Task Force
d.    Rewritten the procedures for the Evaluation Process for Adjunct Faculty – Need to finalize with Task Force
e.    Rewritten the Peer Observation Report
f.    Rewritten the Faculty Self-Assessment to include Student Learning Outcomes
g.    Rewritten the evaluation ratings from Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory to Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory
h.    Rewriting the Tenure Review Policy and Procedures for completion next week
i.    Rewriting the Class Observation Evaluation Form for completion the week of October 14th
j.    Rewriting the procedures for the Evaluation Process for Distance Education Faculty for completion the week of October 28th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


GRIEVANCES

AFT and District agree on new grievance/complaint procedure


The Vice Chancellor of Human Resources & Employee Relations and AFT 1493 have just agreed to begin using a new grievance/complaint procedure. Both parties will now meet once a month, with the Union providing the agenda. The agenda will include whatever issues, possible grievances, complaints and any other topics that would be of mutual interest for both parties to discuss. The number of agenda items will depend on how many issues need to be discussed.  
     This new procedure will allow the District’s Human Resources department and the Union to work to resolve issues, make agreements, and resolve potential future grievances before actual grievances become necessary.  
    These monthly meetings will be attended by the AFT 1493 President and the AFT 1493 Executive Secretary, who will then provide reports of these discussions to the AFT 1493 Executive Committee.
    If any faculty member has a problem that involves a possible grievance, which means a violation of the AFT contract (available on the AFT website, aft1493.org), or has a complaint or concern regarding working conditions, please contact the Chapter Chair for your campus or contact Dan Kaplan, AFT 1493 Executive Secretary, by phone (574-6491) or email (kaplan@aft1493.org.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50th-anniversary-balloons-line


Please join AFT 1493 in celebrating our

50th anniversary (1963 – 2013!)

Friday, November 15th 4-9 PM

Cañada Vista Clubhouse
(on the Cañada College campus)

Food, Music, and reminiscences from early members of the union

 50th-1963-2013-web

 50th-anniversary-balloons-line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFT Endorsements for November 5 School Board Elections


AFT Local 1493 has endorsed incumbent Trustee Richard Holober and Tom Mohr, past President of Cañada College, for the San Mateo County Community College Board of Trustees in the November 5 election.
    For the Jefferson Elementary School Board, AFT Local 3267 has endorsed Dr. Rebecca Douglass, incumbent, Marie Brizuela, incumbent, and Joseph Water, parent and De Anza College instructor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFT 1493 set to launch new organizing campaign


by Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President

Education is taking hits from all directions.  We experience it everyday in our workplace.  The forces attacking education are powerful, rich and politically savvy.   Recognizing the need to strengthen the ability of our faculty union to defend and support what teachers, staff, students and community members know works best, our local is launching a new organizing campaign.  The details aren’t hammered out yet, but the general purpose of the campaign will be to increase active membership in the union as well as forge stronger bonds with the communities we serve.  
    We will be working with a new California Federation of Teachers initiative, the Quality Public Education Campaign (QPEC) committed “…. to address the issues of equity, access, pedagogy, funding and other elements needed for progressive educational improvements.”   Lead by Katharine Harer, experienced union leader and organizer, we hope to receive funding and professional support for our local campaign from the CFT for the academic year 2014-15.


CFT Campaign for Quality Public Education
 

    The CFT passed a resolution at the 2013 Convention dedicating its support and resources to working with community partners on the Quality Public Education Campaign. The overall QPEC goal is to identify important educational issues and problems while fostering solutions that work locally, to consider the needs of a school’s surrounding community and defend the integrity of educators in the process. The CFT’s new initiative recognizes that high-quality education is a human right and a public good.

Our Local’s campaign

    The Executive Committee of our local has given Katharine the go ahead to begin designing a district and community-wide campaign.  The goal is to start the first stage of the organizing effort in spring semester 2014 with seed monies from our union and to apply for a QPEC organizing grant for the 2014-15 academic year.
    Katharine, as well as other union reps, will be talking to you – old-fashioned talking, one-to-one — not email, not even meetings or forums.  We want to tailor our organizing campaign to speak to the needs of our colleges from our unique points of view, not the administration’s or the accrediting commission’s.   Armed with your good ideas and with the support of the CFT, we envision an energetic and relevant organizing drive that will be effective in building support for quality public education.  This is for all of us – for the people who do the work and for those who come to us to learn.

 

 

 

COLLEGE PLANNING

Expanded staffing plan approved by Skyline’s Governance Council, Institutional Planning Committee


by Paul Rueckhaus, Skyline College Part-Timer Co-Rep.

At two forums held in September, Skyline College President, Regina Stanback-Stroud and Vice President of Instruction, Sarah Perkins, reviewed an ambitious 5-year strategic plan for new and expanded initiatives and prueckhaus-webthe staff (administrators, classified and faculty) that would operate those programs. For those—like myself before attending these meetings—unfamiliar with the funding structure of a public school district under the banner of basic aid, it basically means that our district’s property tax revenues exceed the funding that we would otherwise receive under state formulas (see Academic Senate for California Community Colleges). This is alternately referred to as “community supported” as the district is primarily supported by local, rather than state, tax dollars. What this means for Skyline is greater autonomy and control in determining how the college develops its academic and other campus programs than when the district is dependent upon a greater share of state funds. The purpose of the forum was to share with Skyline faculty and staff how realization of the community supported funds will inform the College’s Strategic Plan and, in turn, what implications that will have for expanded staffing.

New initiatives, new hires and new agenda

    The strategic staffing plan is divided into six priority areas outlined in the documents linked below. Instead of a focus on developing basic skills or discipline-specific programs, the emphasis for the 2012-2017 strategic plan is on infrastructure-building for student success & financial sustainability, and interdisciplinarity as the new initiatives will focus on programs that cut across disciplines. Some implications for staffing patterns include an emphasis on administrative and support positions, revenue generating positions and instructional positions that reside in special programs as well as their departmental “homes.”
    Among these special programs and initiatives that are planned to expand are the Career Advancement Academies (cohorted learning communities that integrate general education with career & technical ed.), technology-supported instruction, international student services & study abroad, SparkPoint (a comprehensive vocational, social & material support agency on the Skyline campus) and transfer programs (a proposed Middle College, and transfer degree of ferings) to name a few. The specific areas named in the plan are expected to see increased staffing with approximately 20 instructional positions and 30 non-instructional classified positions.
    The staffing plan will create new upper-administration positions, as well. As the new plan emphasizes technology-supported instruction as well as digital library services, a new dean position of learning technology will be created. A new dean position of global learning/international programs will also be created to oversee CTE programs in international trade as well as international student and study abroad programs. Also in the plan is a dean of student support services to oversee SparkPoint and other services that boost students’ academic success potential. Finally, a new vice president of administrative affairs will be added to oversee soft money and revenue generating projects (e.g., facilities rental) among other endeavors concerning fiscal sustainability and business development. The details of the staffing plan can be found by downloading the slides on the Strategic Plan Home Page or by reading the entire Human Resource Plan.

 

 

 

 

 

RETIREES

Group of DART members attend Black Watch play in SF;
Next event:  AFT 1493 50th anniversary party on November 15


by John Searle, President, District Association of Retired Teachers

Back in June, 2013, DART (District Association of Retired Teachers) purchased fifteen tickets for ACT’s production of Black Watch, providing a discount for the members and friends to attend the performance.  The general feeling was, once you got used to every phrase/sentence/utterance containing profanity (realism??), it was an exhilarating and challenging experience. The story line focused on two themes: the first being on the unconventional nature of the war being fought in Afghanistan, and the failure of the western military organization being able to adapt to this style of fighting; the second, a history of the Black Watch regiment, a sort of mercenary unit used by the British government in every colonial war fought in the last two hundred years, and indirectly, why the controversy over the present government’s decision to disband the regiment based on austerity reasons. 
    The play was put on in the San Francisco Armory, which is in the Mission district.  For a number of us suburbanites, simply travelling in the daylight (a matinee performance) from BART to the theatre was an educational experience (slightly unnerving ??) with the stark contrast between the colorful mixture of the locals, stretching the definition of poverty, and the interspersed upscale business establishments (such as coffee shops and restaurants) catering to the new affluent youth.
    The social function culminated in a meal and drinks at a locally recommended restaurant, though true to the district, it had changed hands a number of times in the last two years, which provided a problem in direction finding and coordinating a meeting.
    For the immediate future, the DART organization will be co-sponsoring the AFT 1493’s celebration of its founding 50 years ago. I was not around then, but I do have vivid memories of Pat Manning and John Kirk (in their collective youth) establishing (via election) the “union” as sole negotiator in contract talks with the District, and the inevitable visit of Joe McDonough to answer to as to why we as individuals should join the union.
    If the membership of DART desires (a sort of “if Barkas is willing”), we can organize a separate Christmas/New Year celebration of our own, say in early January 2014. As always, I can be reached at: Searle@my.smccd.edu, so please share your opinion with me. (Please make note of my new email address!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNION COMMUNICATIONS

Unions work to develop social media strategies to communicate more effectively with their members and the broader community


by Michelle Kern, CSM Part-Timer Rep.

An online advocate for politics, social justice, or labor is faced with a dilemma: a baffling array of attractive tools virtually clutters up the internet, each appealing in its own unique way—for use in furthering outreach, boosting interest in organizational campaigns, or just to enable a more effective and wider sweeping reach.

Which to use– Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr…?

    What is the most effective strategy for broadening a base of supporters? The wide range of Internet social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, email blasts and others, which seem to emerge regularly, all have their own strengths and weaknesses in communicating messages and goals.  
    There is a temptation to represent an organization by signing up for all forms of social media and hoping that scattering a wide net will bring in more readers.  However, this may not be the most effective use of social media. Strategies to focus an effective way to target Internet work are called for.  
    The non-profit organization AspirationTech recently conducted a two-day workshop at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education providing hands-on training to burgeoning social media activists in trade unions.  AspirationTech specializes in connecting non-profits and “e-advocates” to accessible technology, with a variety of tools available on their website, as well as introducing best practices for use and evaluation of these and other tools within an organization.  

Reach your audience where they already are

    The first goal of any organization, recommends AspirationTech, is to conduct an internal survey to locate the media already employed by the organization’s current, and potential, audience.  Several demographics use different forms of communication more often than others, for example young people tend to communicate using phone texting more than email.  It is far more effective to reach your audience where they already are then to try to pull people toward the media channel they may not be comfortable with or use often.  
    Understanding the difference in how various online channels are employed by new users should be the next goal.  A website presence is an organization’s “front door.”  Users discover this presence in an Internet search, ascertaining basic information.  Others interested in greater detail will make the effort to seek out the organization’s extended presence in social media, which should be accessible from the organization’s website.  

Facebook reaches the widest demographic

    On the other hand, if community building and dialogue are an organizational goal, a Facebook page can be key for users to seek out updated information on news or to participate in building community with other users.  Facebook is the social media platform that reaches the widest demographic of users; however new users face a high learning curve when facing the many tools it employs.  Make sure that this platform is already popular with a potential user base.
    Content, and how it is delivered, are also factors to consider when choosing a social media channel. Platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram that specialize in smaller bursts of information can attract new readers, but must be refreshed at shorter intervals, as feeds can drift by quickly and change hour by hour.  If an organization is using these channels to support a blog or a newsletter, it can be a challenge to find ways of presenting this information so it stays fresh and reaches new users.  
    Organizations using these micro-blogging platforms need to keep an eye out for opportunities to build new relationships with other users and organizations.  Find an event related to the work the organization is engaged in and create messages that link events, happenings, tweet-chats, etc. to existing content.  Search out and use hashtags (words with a # symbol placed in front of them that create links on social media) created for events to direct your content into streams where people will be searching for content related to the event or issue.  

Narratives can connect people to your purpose

    Also, it should be remembered that one key in advocating for an issue is creating narratives connecting people to the underlying purpose of your messaging, especially when launching an event or campaign.  One of the strategies AspirationTech presents is a model called the “two P’s and the two F’s”: pain, passion, fun and fame.  These four different “filters” can give people who might be interested in a cause more ownership through the personal connection that can be built through tapping into mutual interests and needs—from posting “shout-outs” recognizing their organizations to highlighting the positive end-result hoped for from the project.  
    Strategies for sharing content can even be plotted out on a calendar a few weeks or months in advance.  Follow a schedule for a predetermined amount of time and then analyze the trends and statistics on how much content has been shared and viewed.  Try spacing posts across the week or day, at different times, to see when your audience tends to be looking for content.

Use data to understand users’ interactions

     Changes should be made slowly and only after a solid period of observation.  Don’t switch the plan every week based on daily stats, but examine a period of months, or a year, to discover where and when messages have been received or read.  Facebook and some email programs will keep detailed statistics that can be downloaded and examined. Data is the story of readers’ interactions with your organization’s goals and so it should be considered a part of your organization’s informational assets.  
    Statistics on sharing and views on Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms are trickier to obtain, except through amounts of user shares.  The use of the URL shortener such as bit.ly can, however, provide information about how many users clicked through a link in a post.
 
Ultimately, real personal connections are key

    Realistic goals will encourage rewards that can be built on.  AspirationTech reports that it is normal for a message, such as an email blast, to have only 17-20% open rates; feeling a need for obtaining 100% contact is unrealistic.  Social media should be considered in the same light, as it is unusual for any organization that has not achieved widespread celebrity already to get millions of shares. Gradual gains over a period of time are more usual, and it is important not to lose existing connections with users just to chase large groups of new people.  
    In the end, social media and e-advocacy are only supplements to personal relationships we have already cultivated.